29/3/17 – GARDEN REMAINS OPEN – the engineers started on Wednesday to check the strength of the entrance drive and adjoining areas. Access for everyone to the Garden continues whilst the work is on, and the place is looking lovely, with the large Magnolia about to burst into bloom.
26/3/17 – GARDEN REMAINS OPEN – the Plantation Garden is now looking glorious in this weather. Access from Earlham Road on foot is fine. The tests in the entrance drive start on Wednesday 29th and we understand that the engineers will facilitate access whilst they are on site for 8 days. We will check on the first day and let you all know. Watch this space.
15/3/17 – GARDEN OPEN – on Wednesday 15th March we open the Plantation Garden to the public using the proper entrance on Earlham Road. Our normal times apply of 9 am to 6pm. There is a possibility that we may have more closures in the next few weeks so please watch this space, just in case!
The heart warming response by so many people and the incredible petition signed by 11,200 definitely had an effect in getting us back on track. We look forward to seeing many more visitors in the Garden and perhaps more becoming members as this is where the base of our support comes from.
12/3/17- Garden Opening Update! We intend to open Plantation Garden to the public in the middle of this week. The access will be through a ‘doorway’ in the fencing on the main gateway, and along the entrance drive as before. The drive will be been tested for strength, and this is planned to start on 24th March. We hope that the route will be given clearance so that we can fully use it and bring in essential materials for the Garden.
There is a possibility that we may have to close the Garden again, for a day or two, to accommodate the testing, and there is always a concern that a problem will be discovered. Watch this space for the confirmed day of our opening for the public.
Its disappointing that we have been closed now for 5 weeks and whilst the City Council arranged a test of our Garden in the first week, we are still waiting for action from MJB Hotels despite asking.
There is a rumour that the tests of the access will be done at the end of the month which is another 3 weeks at least and we will talk to our solicitors about the delay.
If there is any news we will put it out on the website and social media. We have our AGM on 23 March when our members will have the opportunity to hear and discuss this situation.
26/2/17 – we did have the good news on Monday that the City Council are satisfied that the Plantation Garden is safe for the public. Since then we asked but had no indication when the access drive will be tested by MJB Hotels or their insurers. The only comment that we have seen was a feature on Tuesday 21st on the website of the EDP which does give us some hope that there will be tests soon.
We will keep you all advised and we are sorry that you have missed the Garden for all of February when we have had one of our best displays of snowdrops. However the daffodils and tulips are showing progress and we look like having great Spring shows.
21/2/17 – We are delighted to hear from the City Council that the tests in Plantation Garden that they arranged have given results that show the place is safe to visit. Their comment to the press said that :-
“Following a ground investigation by independent geotechnical engineers on a small section of land owned by the Council behind the right-of-way path into the site, we’re now satisfied it’s safe for Plantation Garden employees and visitors to use.
However, we understand Mr Burlingham will need to arrange for a similar ground investigation to be done on the pathway leading into the garden to fully assess any potential risk.”
16/2/17 – The engineers report about the tests in Plantation Garden are expected in the next few days as both the City Council and ourselves are keen to understand what the status of the underground structure is. As soon as we have information to share we will do so. We continue to garden as before so that we are in a good condition for the Spring.
12/2/17 – The tests in the Garden were done 10 days ago and we wait for the results. We hope they will indicate the condition of the strata below us and then we can plan for the future.
We can assure you all that the place is looking good and is well set up for the Spring, with our volunteer gardeners still very active even in this cold time.
3/2/17- The barriers on Earlham Road went up this week. We are coming in via the private entrance and keeping the place tidy ready to show it off when we can let you all in again.
Two days of tests completed in the Plantation Garden by the engineers for City Council. We wait the results of these which will take a while to be revealed.
We will keep you informed as soon as we have news.
31/1/17 – The gardening volunteers went in today using the new pedestrian access and were able to tidy most of the beds, clear leaves and improve the composting. The Garden looks very tidy and is waiting for Spring.
26/1/17 – At a site meeting on Thursday Tony Burlingham of MJB Hotels and Roger Connah of the Plantation Garden Trust met to plan the investigations into sinkholes and the access to the Plantation Garden.
It was agreed that public access to the Garden will not be permitted during the tests that are to be carried out in the next few weeks. But the trustees of Plantation Garden, the gardeners and the security guards will be able to get into the site on foot through an alternative route provided by Mr Burlingham. Thus the garden will continue to be maintained and its security should not be compromised.
There are two sets of tests proposed with an essential check on the driveway to the Plantation House to make sure that this route is safe for use by the heavy machinery which will be used to repair the hotel which suffered from a sinkhole last April. This route is also the path into the Plantation Garden.
The second tests will be done by the City Council who lease the Garden to the Trust to establish whether a tunnel from the sinkhole location continues into the Garden. This will be checked to see if the strata over the tunnel is sound and if any remedial works are required.
Going forward all parties hope that the area will be checked for safety and that the Plantation Garden will open in a few weeks.
25/1/17 – our solicitors are negotiating with our neighbours and are asking for an arrangement for continued access to the Garden. At this stage we cannot confirm that the place will remain open.
24/1/17- lovely in the Garden today- still open and solicitors still negotiating which is helpful.
23/1/17- The Garden remains open still and we are discussing the access issue with solicitors acting for the parties. We will let you all know as soon as we have any positive news on the outcome of the negotiations.
19/1/17 – we now have solicitors for our Trust and for MJB Hotels talking about the problem and in view of this we wait before making any comment on the possible closure. There has been a suggestion in the Evening News that the access may not be closed for long but we have been given no such information to consider.
18/1/17 – Now 9 days before potential closure. We have had a meeting with a well known firm of Norwich solicitors who will be giving us advice and I am sure you will all understand that at this time it is not appropriate to go into any details.
17/1/17 – We had a positive meeting on Tuesday 17th January with the City Council hosted by Alan Waters, the leader, and we will be working together to resolve the issues affecting the Plantation Garden.
Tomorrow we will be taking legal advice on the way forward in keeping access to the Garden.
I am still astonished at the interest shown by so many people on social media and very encouraged that our Garden is so much loved. The petition launched by the Black Horse pub in support is quite independent of us, and unexpected again showing the importance of keeping us from closing.
16/1/17 – Only 11 days to the threatened closure of Plantation Garden by the MJB Hotel owner.
The support from all of you out there who follow the social media is so heart warming and gives such support to the trustees who are dealing with this.
There is no real change today, but I have had a very positive comment from a prominent local firm of solicitors that we have asked for help to us as the Garden.
Tomorrow I have a meeting with the City Council at a high level as they are very concerned and we need to work together to resolve the access.
Clive Lewis, our MP, has been in contact to support us.
15/1/17 – Thank you all for the amazing reaction to the proposed closure of our garden. The headline in the Evening News of “OUT OF BOUNDS” also really hurt.
Our position is clear in that we have a lease from the City Council which includes a right of way over the entrance drive to the Plantation Hotel. This right is legally binding as it was reserved in the original sale of the hotel years ago. It is the only access to the Garden and if we are locked out this is a legal breach which will have to be challenged.
Despite asking we have no information from MJB Hotels about their investigations into a sinkhole under Plantation Hotel and the suggestion that there may be a problem under our Garden is not based on any professional advice shown to us. We all know that this part of Norwich has many old mines and shafts ranging from 150 years old to over 500 years. Large areas of the City are affected but the collapses are rare and advice we have received indicates that nearly all such events are caused by water leakage and indeed that was what happened in the 1988 sinkage under the bus.
After the sinkhole appeared next door in April we have monitored our site including the access and we have no indications of a problem and I regard the assertions in the newspaper article as unsubstantiated hearsay.
Our insurance policy is provided by the City Council in their own cover and officers are checking the legal and insurance situation currently. We have to give them a reasonable time to do this, but by the middle of the week we will be only 10 days away from the deadline from MJB.
A campaign to prevent closure or open the access if closed will commence if we can see no action in stopping this unkind act. Thank you all so much for your support and for the many offers of financial and physical help. We will not ignore these and the public concern and pressure will result in us all enjoying the Plantation Garden this summer.
and also the Facebook page “Secret Norwich”
Thank you all so much. Roger Connah , Chairman of the Plantation Garden Preservation Trust.
14/1/17 – The response by so many in a few hours after the news about the intended closure of Plantation Garden is a great support to us as the trustees.
The Garden remains open as usual with the deadline of closure still 13 days away on 27th January.
We have a lease from the City Council and with their help I hope to resolve this unnecessary action. I will keep you all posted and please keep an eye on our facebook page and website.
Roger Connah , chairman.